Nigel Slater’s Extremely moist chocolate and beetroot cake

I booked myself in for the Spen Valley Clandestine Cake Club at the end of February. This meant I needed to make a cake! The theme for the club was ‘finishing touches’. This was a challenge for me, not being an experienced cake baker. It took a while, but I decided to go with a chef I trust the recipes of and opted for ‘Nigel Slaters extremely moist chocolate beetroot cake with creme fraiche and poppy seeds’ (and then I ruined my test bake due to not reading the recipe properly – more on that later!).

I took the recipe from the Tender cookbook, but it’s also on the Telegraph website here:


As you can see the ingredients were; beetroot (I cheated and bought pre-cooked ones), dark chocolate, hot espresso, butter, flour, cocoa powder, eggs and caster sugar. There was a lot to do for the cake, but it wasn’t too complicated really. This is only cake number 3 that I’ve made and I find baking so much easier when I get the ingredients weighed out before I start cooking.

I always try to do a test bake before cake club as I’m so nervous about getting it wrong. I’m so glad I did. I misread the recipe! The recipe said to heat the oven to 180 then turn down once the cake went in. I totally misunderstood/misread and I cooked it the entire time at 130 – hence when I cut in to the cake, it was raw. I didn’t take a pic of it cut, but here’s one of it straight out of the oven. Looking at the photo you can see it’s a different colour in the middle – something I’ll watch out for in future.


So, on cake club day I made the cake at lunchtime and cooked it at the right temperature and for a few minutes more – just incase!! It was perfectly cooked this time and once it was decorated with the creme fraiche and the poppy seeds it looked great.


The location for our cake club was at The Gallery Bistro. It’s a cafe/bistro and a hair/beauty salon rolled in to one just off Market Place in Heckmondwike. There was a really good turn out and the staff were so welcoming, they showed us around and offered free mini treatments.

clandestine cake club spen valley

I had heard great things about beetroot in cakes and really I wasn’t disappointed. It was moist and (this time!) perfectly cooked. I had lots of positive feedback on the night and a few even asked for the recipe.

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